MLB bat boys and bat girls will be on the hot seat this season as the league continues its efforts to speed up the game, according to a “clarification memo” obtained by ESPN on Wednesday.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the document — which is the fifth memo sent by MLB this spring — was sent out Wednesday after players on the joint competition committee between the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) and MLB “requested various changes earlier in the week.”
“New standards will be enforced for bat boys and bat girls, whose ability to quickly retrieve equipment will help efforts to speed up the game, according to the memo. The league will evaluate the performances of bat boys and bat girls and could ask teams to replace them if their performance is considered substandard,” per Passan’s report.
Fresh off a thrilling World Baseball Classic (WBC) that ended with Shohei Ohtani striking out Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout to give Japan the title, baseball in the United States now heads towards Opening Day, which is next Thursday for all 30 MLB teams.
Aside from the WBC, the talk all offseason has been about the myriad of rule changes coming to America’s pastime. The latest league document shows just how serious commissioner Rob Manfred and company are taking the efforts to increase the pace of play this spring.
According to Passan’s report, the league is making “slight changes to its new pitch clock rules but will not alter the most significant portions of the mandates that have shaved 25 minutes off game times this spring.”
Fans who haven’t tuned into any spring training games or haven’t seen highlights of any action since the 2022 postseason are in for a surprise once Opening Day rolls around on March 30.